Software

RuralCafe: Web Search in the Rural Developing World

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Executive Summary

All urban areas of the world are properly connected and have access to the World Wide Web. But rural, developing regions are still struggling to have proper access. There were two major reasons for the limited access, first being the limited purchasing power in these regions and the second being the economic feasibility of the traditional systems. With the egress of new long-range wireless technologies there is some optimism for providing rural regions with the required connectivity. However, a disadvantage of these new technologies is that they are irregular due to exorbitant network usage rates, frequent power cuts and the use of delay tolerant links. This paper lays forward the design and implementation of RuralCafe, a system that would provide proficient web search even with irregular networks. RuralCafe provides an elaborated search query to get the most out of the utility of the results returned by a search query converting the multiple rounds of irregular search into one single round of irregular search. It modifies the search interface and the search process to cater to the irregularity of the network and provides better user-driven targeted one-round search. It desynchronizes the search process by carrying out many search tasks in an offline manner and retrieving only when necessary. RuralCafe has implemented and tested the success by using the queries from logs of a large search engine, queries made by users in an irregular setting, and live queries from a small test bed operation. This has also been tested by making a prototype in Amrita University, Kerala, India.

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